Widener Law held the second annual Professionalism Day on Tuesday, September 16th, offering students a valuable opportunity to learn about life as a legal professional.
On the Harrisburg camps, three different programs were set up for students. Students in their final year enjoyed an extensive afternoon program entitled “Making the Transition to the Practice of Law” that included presentations from several practicing lawyers. First year students and extended division students in their second year were treated to an evening program themed around achieving success in law school, while both second year students and third year extended division students witnessed a program entitled “Becoming a Professional”.
Harrisburg Dean of Students Ann Fruth offered a short welcome before “Making the Transition to the Practice of Law”, introducing Saul Ewing LLP attorney and Widener Law graduate Joel Hopkins, Esq. ’99. Hopkins spoke to students about what a student could expect from the first year of practice, noting, “You will never be smarter than the day after you take the bar exam, and you will never be dumber than the day you start work as a lawyer.” He discussed the traits needed to succeed in the professional world, emphasizing that law firms look for a good attitude, solid research and analytical skills, the ability to write, interpersonal skills, and a commitment to supporting colleagues and working hard.
The program also featured a talk by Patti Bednarik, Esq., of the Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, a presentation on the professional implications of social networking sites like Facebook by Patricia Fox, Esq., Associate Director of the Legal Information Center, and a talk on professional networking given by Edward Spreha, Jr., Esq., the President of the Young Lawyers’ Division of the Dauphin County Bar Association.
The Delaware Campus conducted its own Professionalism Day activities, offering a variety of panel discussions featuring legal professionals and moderated by members of the faculty. The programs for second and third year students ran from 9:00 in the morning until 12:00 and featured topics such as Success on the Bar Exam, Transitioning from Law Student to Law Professional, and Success in Finding and Keeping Employment. Smaller breakout sessions focused on Large and Medium Firm Practice, Small Firm and Solo Practitioner, Government Service, Alternative Careers in the Law, Public Interest, Judicial Clerkship, and In-house Counsel.
First year students on the Delaware campus had their turn in the afternoon. Members of the faculty discussed how students could find success in law school while the Career Development Office and members of the library staff presented a joint program discussing personal marketing messages and reputation. Extended Division students attended similar programs in the evening, capping a long but successful day.